tv The Life and Presidency of George H.W. Bush CSPAN December 23, 2015 7:22am-8:24am EST
1969. >> it was just remarkable all of the things that he did and sometimes he would criticize himself if he read carefully you must have come across where he said, i think the column was too strong, i shouldn't have quite said it thatd way, linda is goig to s get mad at me by the way i wrote the column, but it needed to be told, what i wrote and i'm glad i wrote it. >> sunday night at 8:00 p.m. eastern on q&a. >> john's book is a biography of bush and barbara bush. mr. meacham spoke with george w. bush in dallas.
this is under an hour. >> please welcome margaret spellings, president of the george w. bush center. [applause] >> hello, hello, good evening everybody, thank you so much for joining us at the bush center at the beautiful smu campus, i hope for most of you is welcome back, we are so thrilled to be here. i want to first recognize first lady laura bush and gerald turner. thank you all for being here. this year -- [applause] >> absolutely. we have been keeping a very busy calendar this year with our engaged at thear bush center series and we are hosting foreman chairman of the federal reserve benen bernanke, be on te lookout for that.
so please plan on joining us for both of those. we also want to call your attention to our holiday season special exhibit called a season of stories, christmas at the white house 2003 opening on november the 19th, just in time for all of your holiday visitors, exhibit will have hand-crafted decorations, characters that were displaced at the whites house for christms in 2003 and we'll hope that you come and experience that. it'snd terrific for families, of course, tonight we are excited to have conversation with president bush and author meacham. destiny and power, the american odd say of george herbert walker bush. john was given access, diaries to write the book and delivers
an unprecedented portrayal of a great man who long held a special place in our history and in our hearts. please, join me in welcoming to the stage my boss, the 43rd president of the united states, george w. bush and author john meacham. [cheers and applause] >> thank you all. god, they already love you and haven't read the book. >> this is perfect, man. it's all downhill. >> welcome to dallas. thank you for coming, john. margaret, laura. i welcome keith, john's wife, sam, mary and maggie from nashville, tennessee. thank you for being with us, we are thrilled you are here. [applause] >> thank you. >> so i know the subject of your
book quite well. >> you've met him, yeah. >> and i read your book. >> i have. >> much to the amazement to fellow citizens. [laughter] >> i really like your book. it's really the first serious biography of my dad. before we talk about the book, i think people might be interested in your background, where were you raised, college. >> yes, sir. i grew up in chattanooga, tennessee on a civil war battlefield, missionary rig, i could still find balls from the battle in our yard. i went to some great schools. i went to the mccallough school. we have a foot in every camp.
[laughter] >> then i went to sewani, the university of the south, best understood of a combination of abby, all put together. growing up i loved biography of great men. william winchester was an important book for me. i loved politics. my grandfather was a judge in tennessee. he used to have coffee with the local, political guys every morning every morning and i would go down there at a young man, which explains why i'm strange as i am, the courthouse group in chattanooga. for me politicians were always real people and as i went into journalism, which my grandfather pointed out, i went into print
journalism which was being the last rat to board a sinking ship, which i thought was unkind and accurate, ultimately. what i always wanted to the was write about these great events but great events that were shaped by people and what impresses me more about politicians and one of my mr. character flaws, is that we know that folks in your line of work, you make mistakes, but you do great things and you bend history, and what i always try to find when i where a book about someone is what is the moment when all the human frailties are still there but you manage to rise above them to put the country and the world in a better course. >> so so you've written books about jefferson, jackson, roosevelt,u all dead.
>> that's truth. [laughter] >> then you decide to write about somebody who is still alive. >> very much so. >> what's the difference? >> you can't call the others to check things out. [laughter] >> the other three also didn't have sons who happened to also have nuclear authority. [laughter] >> so we can talk about that in a second if you want. you know what the difference was? i always feared because your dad was generous with his access, because your mom was so generous and you were so generous, i worry that i would have a hard time throwing a punch if i had to. but because what your family created around this project, which was you call them like you see them. we are not looking for, you know, this is a portrait, this is history, not journalism and because of that and emanated from your father, the problem
became i never met jackson, which is a good thing, he might have shot me. [laughter] >> and i never met jefferson, i never met fdr and churchill. when you're writing, and you know this, you've done two great books, you -- if you're writing and someone you don't know, you don't know what you're missing. if i try to describe to have dinner with your dad or sitting around with your father and i wrote that section and i would think, you know, i didn't quite -- did i quite get it exactly right because as you know, your father has what i call a quiet persistent charisma. he's no jfk and no ronald regan and he became president of the united states because person after person at every stage in his life, almost anyone who met him with some exceptions, we can damn near count on one hand, believe that he was someone the
hands of the affairs of the nation and the world would be safe. and that's a particular kindti f gift, a particular kind of charisma that doesn't fit in the usual categories, and so your dad created a much more difficult literary task, which you know because you did it. >> yeah, mine was a different perspective starting with you never president. [laughter] >> and the world is a lot better off because of it. i can assure you. >> margaret mentioned this and that iios something that i didnt realize that he had kept a lot ofth diaries. he had spoken to tape recorder for years. >> years. >> and he gave you full access. >> unconditional. >> so how did that happen, in
that his sons had no idea he had a dairy? >> we come from a common gene pool. >> speak for yourself. >> direct conversations are never a big thing in our family except is where the olives go for the martinis. when i was a growing up that's about as honest as we got sometimes. i begged. [laughter] >> what -- he kept dairies as un embassador, rnc chairman and a little bit of a campaign dairy in 1980, vice president, he was very good in odd number years because in even numbered years he was out campaigning so he was on the road for senate candidates. starting on november 4th, 1986 he says i'm beginning a dairy
about the biggest challenge of my life, the biggest mission of my life, i'm going the run for president. and it was the day they lost the senate, and so it start kind of dark. but he did this throughout the '88 campaign. and as president he missed a week or two, maybe. >> really? >> he would do it early in the morning, sometimesll the tree room. he would carry it around in his briefcase, he would do it on marine one, you could hear the blades on the helicopter. he would do it on air force one. you could hear the engines. he would do it late at night where he sounded beaten down from the day. t what's so b revealing about them is reading them alone is fascinating, it is a unique histor call document. i told him at the time, believe it onto this hour that there's
important as john quincy adams because he's talking. he's not writing, the act of writing, you step back from it. this is a man who turned on the tape recorder and told the truth and even he was having the worse possible day, even if newt gringrich had done something. >> newsweek. >> newsweek. >> it's an inside joke. gracious of you. >> welcome to dallas. >> where are those olives. [laughter] >> even when he was having the
worse possible day he would talk himself back into the game. the night he lost, which i believe is the night that the 20th century ended, november 3rd and november 4, 1992, he's sitting in suite and your mother is asleep, he can't sleep, it's a quarter after midnight. he gets out of the bed and goes into the livinge room and turns on the tape recorder and basically says, they always said i didn't getvi it, i didn't believe the pundants. what i don't get is how this generation do the honor country the way my generation did. i'm paraphrasing slightly. [applause] >> and those are tough words for a sitting president of the united states to say about his country. but then what does he do, be strong, be gracious, finish strong, don't show them that it hurts, don't show them that it
hurts and what stunned me the most in listening to these dairies was this is one of the most t emotional men who coulder have held that office. he won my heart in those dairies in 1986, very early on when there's i a scene in poland, hes on a mission for president reagan and shown into a children's look -- leukemia ward and, of course, your sister died of leukemia. all the press is behind him and he realizes where he is and he start to cry. and he won't turn around because if he turns around with tears in his eyes the story becomes about him not about them. now, i know a lot of politicians
and there are not a lot of them who would not have turned around and tried to create some kind of moment, and he says, this poor little kid that has this old man crying over him but i just hope he knows that i love him. that's george herbert walker bush and that's the george herbert walker bush that i believe was a sweeter man, far nobler than the country thought at the time. i hope this book helps change that. >> thank you. [applause] [laughter] >> if word gets to houston, he said it. [laughter] >> the reason i mentioned that is that you read her dairies. >> i did. >> i knew she was a dairy
keeper, of course, she didn't let any of k us read her dairie. >> that was why. >> what did you learn in that? >> i learned that this is an amazing historical document, it starts in 1948 when they go to odessa, when they went to odessa mrs. pierce thought they were going to russia. it was the wrong odessa. [laughter] >> literally mrs. pierce sent boxes ofs. soap and detergent didn't have that texas. the first time that your dad drove through texas he stopped in local diner in abilene not knowing it was chicken fried like a stake or a fried steak
like a chicken. [laughter] >> there's one moment in the dairy 1948, you were two, maybe 1949 where you were listening to mother goose records. >> that's where it all started. [laughter] >> take that putin. [laughter] [cheers and applause] >> and you jabbed her in the leg with a knitting needle. >> take that mother. >> what these dairies give you -- >> wow. >> if you put an incredibly intelligent observant woman at the highest levels of american politics this is what you get.
you have the first impressions of texas politics, she said in 1963 i of the john byrd society which were very in dallas, houston, big forces, the nuts will never love him, she saw that about her husband in 1963. incredibly moving. we have the first time she meat the regans and she points out how immensely attractive they both were and saw that. she wasn't always as quite complementary of everybody. i don't know if you've had experience of that, mr. president. but what it is it's an honest account of the events that shaped the way we live now. you read this.
if you want to understand what it is to be married to the comirm committee -- which i remember of >> he was out there. he was building an international business. you and i talked about this. what's your first memory of your dad, do you remember? >> baseball. >> baseball. but otherwise he was oute there, kuwait, london, in new york raising money to get that oil business going. one of the several times that he cried in interviews with me, i mean, several, several sometimes, sometimes our interviews were the world's
therapy. he would cry and i would cry. the kleneex would run out. i can't lee you two alone. [laughter] did you have anthy idea that you wereld marrying a woman who coud move 37 times and endured what she endured in public life and raising a loving stable family and he burst into tears and he said, no, i didn't know that. but i couldn't have done anything i did without her. >> yeah. interesting. [applause] >> so one of the things that amazed me in the book -- i'm trying to help you sell it. >> i appreciate it. it's an economic stimulus. >> yes, it is.
personal. [laughter] >> tell them the story about losing the senate race and going up to see nixon and the job nixon initially offered him. that really surprised me. >> is that right? it was supposed to be george h. w. bush against yarborough which was going to be a parallel race. handsome guy which was your father against a senior. >> that was bill brock? >> yes, bill brock. >> sorry. >> governorh connelly was not high on the christmas list.
there are only a few people that hadn't forgiven. a lot of them live in dallas. there's one in particular we don't have to talk about. [laughter] >> but what happened was john connly realized what was going on. he realizes what was going on and he puts loyd benson in the race. if you read all the dallas morning news two things jump out at you, one is george h.w. bush was one sexy, every story talked about how he had kennedy's glamour.on again and again itn had this thing about his appeal. the papers all started writing, now we have two tall war veterans who are pretty good look whogns served in the house and in texas in 1970, i don't
have to tell the former governor the advantage was for the democrats. he loses the race. benson-bush did not work because benson was more conservative than yarborough. bush started thinking about this. when he goes to see nixon, nixon decided that he wants to make him an assistant to the president. again, second price at this point. and so president bush makes the case, he says, you know, i really think i could do more good for you at the un. nobody up there making the case for you, nobody is supporting you and it was a brilliant, brilliant tactical argument because nixon is looking at the
son of prescott bush, the polished son, ivy league son of a senator and thinking, you know what, what bush is saying is right. if he goes up there he can make the case for me. i'm the son and having this more figure is going to work for me in new york. but all that thought process happens after he sends bush to find bush a white house office. right as watergate is breaking up. beginning the stories at that point. and there was another element, he calls him back and says, you know what, ill thought about this, we will send you to the un. george walker bush had the short est white house staff, it was about 40 minutes.
but that helped him. nixon said, here is another thing, don't live on the 42nd floor apartment of where the embassador live. run against an ancient bush opponent out in connecticut for the the senate, nixon thought that bush couldn't make it for the senate down here but if he turned him into a connecticut republican he might be able to beatcu ripikauff. what speaks about george bush and texas, at that point he thoroughly thought himself as a texan and he never bid on that. you know better than i do, if a president of the united states suggests a pathway to the senate, you tend to listen, you
tend to think about that. there's very little evidence, and this is all from your mother's dairy that he took that seriously. >> you made an interesting point in the book about comparison in un and '64 race and taking the position. >> there are three examples where your dad -- the reason i call the book destiny and power, plug alert, is that okay, where i believe that -- you and i have talked about this, from very early on george w. bush was the star of the family. that's your nancy's line. rescued after four hours in the life a raft. if the wednesday had been going towards gigima.
you know, i was almost an horderve. at that point your aunt said he was meant to be saved. your father introduced them to the french embassador, this is my son george, he's going to be president of the united states one day. >> grandfather? >> grandfather, sorry. he lost the race but seventh district of houston is starting into being. he has a fellow who he is thinking about racing or --
>> no relation jim. >> or ross -- none of that. i want to be a congressman, i think you're using this as a steppingstone to the senate. no, no, i'm not using this as a steppingstone to the senate, i want to be president. this is 1965. he is 41 year's old. he has yet to be a race except county chairman. it was a sense that he was meant to do great things. what's so striking to me is finding all of the examples. your other grandfather wrote a letter when he was at yale to a
friend. led me to see, begin to see his career at a slightly different light. if you believe you're the best man for the job and your dad believed that, then what you said and what you did in the campaign trail, he said this in y'all's house in maine, you have to say and do certain things that you might inguest -- ingest badly. the truth is what is important is what do you do once you have that power. in 1964 george w. bush wasn't the most popular in united
nations. and there are -- there's example after after of where he would wind power and always at that point put the country ahead of his own political interest, and that is a rare political story. >> when you write the book on me, you're not going to find anybody predicting i would be president. [laughter] >> we'll have to find another angle. >> yeah. [laughter] >> willlet me ask you this: how long does it take for historians to get a clear eye-viewed of a presidency. in other words, the difference between history and journalism? you mentioned that earlier.
>> i think it's 20-25 years where you let the. >> dustin: settle. 25 year-rule. at that point you can begin to see things more fully. it's very clear to me at this point that particularly on the domestic sphere people did not think your dad had much of a domestic agenda, well, walk into a public restroom or try to enter a public building anywhere in this country and you'll find that disabled americans can get into buildings where they couldn't get into. [applause] >> the most piece was signed by george h.w. bush, america's disability act. he compared it to the fall of the berlin wall. his interest was routed in fair
play. another example of where he said one thing and did another once he had the power was he opposed the 1964 civil rights act as a candidate for senate in texas. what does he do in april 1968 when he is in congress, he votes for every african american can buy a house, a lot of words that weren't used were thrown at him. he told me, a big guy came up to him and said, we didn't send you up there to do this. he stood up there and took the heat because he thought it was the right thing to do. he might have done one thing in '64 when he said he was not for
it, when he had the power or responsibility, when he had the authority, what did he w do, he put the ultimate interest of the country directly ahead of political interest. his district didn't want it. he tells a story about getting on the airplane to fly back to washington and a woman is coming at him, you know this. politicians can w tell when peoe areth coming at you with a lookn their eyes, you basically want to be as far away as possible and so he's sitting in the chair and been through all this and he's thinking, god, i'm a democrat in your district and i'm always going to vote for you now. he sat back and flew on. if you put the country first, then ultimately politics takes care of itself.
>> in this case ran and opposed 18 months later. >> right. [laughter] >> i don't think that's true. >> i'm sure it's true. otherwise it would bey a little heavier. '92 campaign. youo alluded to on election nit . anything in the dairies about welcoming the guy who beat him to the white house? >> on the flight he's calling him a draft dodger and
sayingiable h we -- saying that someone elected to avoid service to his country. i like bill. [laughter] >> so when they met it was right when it was the day before your grandmother died. >> yeah. >> third week of november in 1992 and he he said grace himse. they had a long conversation. he showed him what he called his little world there with the study and the dining room and he said clinton's reaction was wow and he personifies, test me if you think i'm overstating this, i actually think that culturally
your father has more in common with franklin roosevelt, theodore roosevelt and even the founding fathers than he does with many people of his own time. >> really? publically do, where service was an extension of yourself, it was expected of you, if you could get to the very top itn was fabulous but at any level he always we all know the story but it's worth telling again, it's -- well, december 7th, 1941 and he's walking across the campus and passes cocrhin chapel. the news of pearl harbor broke out and immediately decides that he wantse, to serve and he wants to a be an aviator.
he even considered joining the royal canadian air force because you didn't have to be 18 and theyau were already mobilized obviously because of the war with -- because of the existing situation with the war in europe. he gets to june 12th, 1942, he has already written letters to thes navy to get signed up, henry, the secretary of war gives speech at the end of graduation saying i think many of you should go on and get a couple of years of college, it's a long war, you'll be more useful then, your dad -- your grandfather says after ward, well, did secretary simpson change your mind, he said, no. breaking away from what his father wanted which is also a pattern here in his life, he wanted to strike out on his own so on june 12th, a saturday,
1942 he graduates from high school and turns 18, he goes up to boston and takes an oath as a navel enlistee at the age of 20 again on saturday september 22nd,e 1944. ..you don't think about did not do enough. all records, followed every procedure. and then he said the other thing i wonder is why was i spirit. i am convinced that that experience as well as the loss of your sister imbued
in him a code that every minute counted. and he told me life is unpredictable and fragile. he knew that he had been given so much in life, loving parents comeau was seems to be one of the greatest mothers in history, loving brothers and sisters. i think he realized that he had been given this chance, to whom much is given much is expected.
nixon, thank you. [laughter] >> thank you, mr. president. retirement is not working quite as you thought. he was in the eastern when nixon gave the famous speech about his father. he did a diary entry that night saying what kind of women is this really? he only showed us who he really was at the very end. he appreciated nixon's
patronage. nixon made it a lot possible for them. he made his life har hard with watergate but he gave them the u.n., the republican national committee. now, nixon's view of your father is one that's really important because it endured in parts of the political culture. and your father told me this and it's in the papers. nixon didn't think your dad, he doubted your fathers tough this, consistently. he thought he was a loyal appointee. nixon once said to george shultz, bush takes our line beautifully. but that was his job. he served in these non-executive jobs, one of the reason why he might have had a little trouble articulating the vision of things later, is he was never in an executive job where you had to do. you are encouraged to subsume your vision because you were serving the president of the united states. so your dad said in diaries, he said to me, that he thought some
of the beginning of the sense that he was a wimp or didn't quite have the guts to do it, begin with the nixon. but the other critical element is one of the reasons nixon thought that is because as chairman of the republican national committee your father saw his duty as the protection of the party, not the protection of the president. so chuck colson and these other guys would send over attacks and say go out there and tell everybody that comes bitterly attack nixon's the phone and he wouldn't do it because he believed that the party, the party's interest in nixon's interests were growing farther apart. >> what's interesting as well is the resignation. the cabinet beneath which i thought was fascinating. >> chairman bush was one of only three people who actually had
the guts to say to richard nixon to his face that he thought he should go. nick sims walks in on august 7, august 6, 1974, and says i think it's time for us to discuss the most important issue facing the country, inflation. big issue but perhaps the fact that you're about to be impeached is a little greater. and sewed the attorney general, bill saxby, says something to him, and then bush says whatever is going to have to happen about the president's future has to happen soon because it's august of an even numbered year and your dad is looking at congressional numbers which are just a total nightmare, and her father also said because nixon was saying i have all the support in the senate, he said no, you don't. someone is not giving you the truth. and you know as president of
eager our people to come to the bad news? >> rarely. >> so what he does is he leaves his cabinet baby and he writes a letter urging the president to resign. so the chairman of the rnc has now written a letter to richard nixon telling him his patron to whom he owes his last two jobs, that it's better for the country for him to go. >> when people read this book, what would you like them to take away about 41? >> fatty food politics as a noble undertaking, that he was someone uniquely who put the country before his own narrow political interests. one of the great examples of president that was the 1990 budget deal. he broke week my lips. he thought that the country,
facing the deficit required it. he had a rebellion brewing on the right with newt gingrich, chiefly. remember president bush goes out to announce the deal and gingrich says he can do it, so he goes off the front door while president bush goes out to the rose garden to announce the do. he says in his diary, nude just wants to criticize, he has no plans of his own. i can't be off in a corner falling on my ideological sword. at that point as well, as you know, you write about in 41, it's october and what, june 27, 1990 is when the no new taxes pledge was broken. august 2, 1990, saddam invades kuwait. budget negotiations role in columbus day. the last thing george herbert walker bush is going to do is put the troops in the field at risk with a government shutdown,
a possible market dip when he has americans in harm's way. and gingrich went to. gingrich went to them and said, just don't do it now. take the pledge back, go into the midterms in november and said if you want a tax increase you vote for the democrats. if you want lower taxes vote for the republicans. i honestly don't think i was in your fathers imaginative capacity as he's building an army to reverse the progression to do that kind of political gamesmanship. >> been reading his diaries what was his attitude during my presidency? like him was he worried about things? was he concerned about the? >> there were no diaries so this was just interviewed along the way. he actually stops on january 20, 1993. 1993. >> when did you start interviewing? >> 2006.
of course he was worried. about you and about mrs. bush and about your daughters and, you know all the stories. he watched to much news. he read the "new york times." that was a big mistake. [laughter] >> no, i agree, yeah. [applause] there's another difference. i didn't read the "new york times" last month. >> at that honestly was. he did worry a lot about, of course. i think one of the great, fascinating questions, obviously, which i asked you at length, and i should parenthetically say in so far as this book is true, as i hope what is come as close to the truth as i thought i could get, a great deal of that i owe a debt to president bush 43, for giving me an immense amount of his time and his insights in his
wisdom. he sat there far longer than he wanted to answer any questions. >> wait a minute. >> but speedy do you know why? i knew john would be there. i was concerned frankly when he approached me about the book, and a little skeptical, frankly, but i was able to read his intentions. it's a damn good book and it really fair book. >> thank you, sir. thank you. [applause] i want to ask you something because -- >> even though we are out of time, go ahead last night's. nightspirit they are only your helicopters. i do want to ask one thing, because the central legend is that bush 41 didn't think you should go into iraq in 2003. i am asked this all the time.
i would ask you to read something. >> good. it's called role reversal. [laughter] >> entertained them for a second. >> okay. ♪ countdown ladies sing this song ♪ [laughter] >> are you sure this is it? okay. page 571 year he admitted, however, iraq was one issue i wanted him to do know what he thought. that's me. >> let me set the context. we spend a lot of time talking to him how much did president bush 43 ask 41 for advice? president bush 40 for often said that much. he said send your briefers. i did a line by line rate of decision points, the best
selling presidential memoir in american history including u.s. grant. if you want to make this presidential biography then to me that would be fine. but what i also found is that actually there was a lot, particularly on personal questions that you all did talk a little bit more. i said to president bush, i think you downplayed sometimes how much you talk to your dad about some things because you didn't want people thinking you are overly dependent on the previous generation. president bush said that's not a bad observation. i took that as a yes, but this is 2002. >> he admitted, however, that's me, i admitted, however, that iraq is one issue. at the presidential retreat where his father had spent so many hours in times of peace and war, george w. explained where things to get i told that i was praying that if we could do with saddam peacefully but were preparing for the alternative.
which 43 called walking into the diplomatic strategy and the efforts to rally the saudis, jordanians, turks and others in the middle east. the older bush replied, ratified the younger bush's course. do you know how tough work is, alluding to afghanistan, and you got to try everything you can to avoid war. but if the men will not comply, you don't have any other choice. >> my question, why the legend keeps persisting. you wrote a -- >> that's the great thing about objective historians, finally showing a. that's a you destroy legends by actually printing the truth. >> so here is a letter by facts at the 41st president since the 43rd president on the day that you ordered the operation iraqi freedom. you wrote your dad saying, i
know i've taken the right action and do pray you will lose their lives. iraq will be free, the world will be safer. i know what you went through, love, george. you want me to read -- >> go ahead. i didn't do a very good job of reading it. >> begin, you had nuclear weapons, i doubt. so here's the reply, the 41st president to the 43rd president. dear george, your handwritten note just received touched my heart. you are doing the right thing. your decision just made is the toughest decision you've had to make up until now, but you made it with strength and with compassion. it is right to worry about the loss of innocent life, the iraqis or american. but you have done that which you
had to do. maybe it helps a little bit as you face the toughest bunch of problems any president since lincoln has faced. you carry the burden with strength and grace. remember robbins words, i love you more than i can tell. well, i do. devotedly, dad. [applause] >> booktv us on twitter. follow was to get publishing news, schedule updates, author information to talk directly with authors during our live programs. twitter.com/booktv. >> harry lembeck is a retired attorney and a theodore roosevelt historic is also the author of new book called
"taking on theodore roosevelt." what happened in brownsville, texas, in august 1906? >> there was a shooting in brownsville in august, between 12 and women shot up the topic of awful soldiers stationed nearby were suspected. account that pretty much hysterical. they asked theater roseville to remove the troops. he did, then had to do something about the troops. he felt they were guilty but he did not want to try them because he felt it would not be convicted. so as commander-in-chief he threw them out of the army. >> these are african-american soldier speak with yes. today we call the buffalo soldiers. >> was roosevelt wrong? >> i think he was wrong. i think most people think he was wrong. at 19 under six few people thought it was wrong. one man who didn't think he was wrong with senator joseph order
him ohio and use the menu took on theodore roosevelt on behalf of the soldiers. so the book talks about the conflict between roosevelt and the senator about what would happen to these soldiers. but to put the event in context also talk about everything else that was happening in those years in 1906 and 1907. roosevelt was so angry for what he did, he doubled down, committed his second mistake by rudely treating him brutally not considering any alternate 20 did handled with a soldier state out of the army. fortner was thrown out of public life i roosevelt. he major he was not reelected in the senate. fortner is forgotten. roosevelt is the great president, which i think he should be, but great president and great and sometimes make great mistakes and this was roosevelt's great mistake.
>> what drew you to the stories because i'm very involved in theodore roosevelt history of something called the theodore roosevelt association. coincidentally the genesis of the story in washington where i was at the museum of american history i saw the house, picture of the house that fortner lived in in washington and i said fortner, i know that name and i started to think more about it and i copied to the story. because it showed roosevelt in the wake we don't always see him, as the bad guy come as an intimate a mistake. it shows an unknown man who was really a wrote. and it still forgotten. this bipolar relationship between them is what attracted me. >> how much support does the senator have been congress during his argument with the president speak with very little, no support from the democrats. rivera, the democrats in those days where the party of the south. he had some report -- support from republicans but want to get into this in it was a long
justice question determined by court. it was a political question determined by politics. nobody could ever defeat the president of the united states in those days in a political decision. the president will do what he wanted to do and this showed what a clever politician roosevelt was. so when it was all over the senator from illinois, a republican named shelby coleman said we all knew roosevelt was wrong. so in a sense for your convinced almost everybody but he didn't get the vote. >> who do you believe perpetrated the crime? >> nobody knows. to this day nobody knows. mainly because there were no trials. there was no evidence. it's hard to say who did it. other suspects with a white townspeople. the town at the time had an 80% mexican population so they were considered suspects but nobody would be on considering the soldiers. we don't know who did it. >> harry lembeck is the prime
minister, historian and also of a new book, "taking on theodore roosevelt." thanks so much. >> you're welcome. >> this holiday weekend booktv brings you three days of nonfiction books and authors. the biggest mistake that i think we make on the consumer side a lot. the one that gets people of the most believe it or not is one that should be devious. we should get happy. >> cornelis isn't the life of dr. martin luther king, jr. in his book the radical king. >> martin understood that not just for christians but any human being who wants to reach the level of integrity, honesty and decency as a long distance runner, you've got to kill something in yourself, fear.
you've got to kill something in yourself. your obsession with position and status and wealth. >> followed by john danforth. >> religion does point us beyond ourselves, and for faithful people, then the, you know, what's in it for me. then me is not central. >> and senator claire mccaskill on her book about her life experiences and local, state and federal government. >> i don't think we do anybody any favors by trying to dress up politicians as if we are not real human beings that have made major mistakes and had major problems in our life. >> saturday evening at seven discussion on "national review" founder william f. buckley, jr.'s run for new york city mayor in 1965. at 11 p.m. winston groom
discusses his latest book. >> one of the first questions i usually passed and i do a tv or radio show is why did you choose these three men from second world war? and answer is that they embodied i believe super characteristics of courage, character and patriotism. >> sunday at eight, the rise of hitler and fdr. at 11:15 p.m. eastern, the influence machine. >> didn't reason that i chose the chamber of commerce as a subject for my book. it's because the single organization sums up the story of how we got here to this
place. place. >> this holiday weekend watch booktv on c-span2. >> sunday night on q&a. >> it was just remarkable all the things that he did, and sometimes he would criticize himself in the diary. he said i think that column was too strong, why shouldn't have said it quite that way, or lend it is going to get mad at me for the way i wrote that column. but he needed to be told what i wrote and i'm glad i wrote it. >> sunday night at 8 p.m. eastern on q&a